Could Europe’s Tough Privacy Protection Proposals Influence Washington, D.C.?

Ryan Calo, director of the Consumer Privacy Project at the Center for Internet and Society, is mentioned in a Forbes article on online privacy harm:

“Online privacy” is a hot topic across the country these days. Our spending tons of time on the Internet and revealing lots about ourselves is not a particularly new phenomenon, but it seems to have finally caught the sustained attention of lawmakers and federal regulators in Washington, D.C.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg can attest to the attention: he has a growing collection of letters from U.S. congressmen about his site’s privacy issues. Eventually, Congress is going to do more than just write angry letters to 26-year-old CEOs. There are bills and proposals floating around the Hill, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Commerce Department. Most insiders believe that privacy protection is ultimately going to fall into the arms of the FTC.


That evolution in thinking about privacy harm may be traced back to Ryan Calo, a researcher at Stanford, who wrote a paper on the topic. Calo is part of an influential group of privacy thinkers (many of whom are law professors) who are trying to guide D.C. in its approach to privacy. (I hung out with a bunch of them a few months back for the Privacy Law Scholars Conference at George Washington University, a conference organized by law professors Daniel Solove and Chris Hoofnagle.)